On World Democracy day, (and even if it wasn’t) the one book that every Pakistani should read is How Democracies Die by two Harvard professors, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt.

Even though the book refers primarily to the Trump administration and how the United States is starting to kill its own democracy, it has got pages and chapters which are so starkly similar to our past and present, that it will shock you.

Donald Trump going to the White House after being elected President

The book, written in 2018, talks about how countries that are democratic have systems in place to do ‘democracy checks’. These systems, some unofficial, make sure that countries do not elect individuals, or parties that go against the core belief of their country’s value system. And if there are times when people with power arise to challenge this system, ruling parties and oppositions, stick together for the greater good to keep them out.


They discuss the rise of authoritarian regimes and how they played the game to get into power, the rise and selection of Hitler and then focus on how America, a country that has historically managed to keep true to its system, is now deteriorating.

Adolf Hitler of Germany

The book is simply written and easy to understand. It explains, very simply, how democracies start to rot and then slowly die, as elected officials and people in power ask citizens to stand up against democratically-elected governments, the media is censored and also indulges in self-censorship and then rules are changed to suit the will of a few than the hope of many.

The book is a must read for everyone who wants to understand how countries evolve and devolve. The book says that, ” History doesn’t repeat itself. But it rhymes.,” and the reason why we need to read it is to know that when that is happening. “The promise of history is that we can find the rhymes before it is too late”.